We’ve heard it all before; breakfast is the most important meal of the day and good food prompts a good mood. But clichés aside, being mindful of what you put into your body can have a huge effect on the way your brain functions.
How do you Like your Eggs in the Morning?
As insta-worthy as avocado and poached eggs on sourdough is, there are more benefits to this brunch staple than securing a few likes on your feed. Opt for some wholegrain sourdough and you’re already on your way to being your best self. Concentration is best fuelled by natural supplies of energy, coming from the glucose in our blood, which then travels to the brain. Wholegrains have a low GI, which means that the glucose supply is released slowly and steadily into the blood stream, giving you consistent levels of alertness throughout the day. The avocado provides vitamin E, which improves the production of mitochondrial energy, which intensifies the production of energy from essential fatty acids. Basically, avocado gets you pumped. Lastly, the egg is a brilliant source of protein ensuring you stay full until lunch (and, #gains).
The Holy Grail (Your Lunch Hour)
As tempting as that Boots £3.29 meal deal may be, chances are it’s packed full of hidden refined sugars which are going to send your energy levels on a roller coaster: they’ll sky rocket and then come crashing down. A better option would be some salmon, which is packed full of omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of EPA and DHA. Sufficient levels of both of these types of fat are said to manage stress and produce the good mood brain chemical, serotonin. In other words, go for salmon in your packed lunch and the moody, post-lunch crash has a greater chance of being avoided. Pairing your salmon with some broccoli will give you a boost of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower. Get ready to be your cheeriest, most intelligent self.
We’re All About the Snacks
It’s 11am, the urge for the choccy digestive and a cup of tea is approaching. It’s 3pm, the same want arises. I can’t promise that these brain boosting snacks will provide the same amount of satisfaction, but I can assure you your energy levels will remain sustained and you should be a happier person (however, sometimes only the chocolate biscuit will do). Berries are packed with antioxidants that help keep your memory functioning as it should. They also provide the main source of energy for the brain: glucose, whilst having a low GI like our good old friend wholegrain from breakfast. Pair your berries with some walnuts, an excellent source of protein and healthy fats. One study even suggested that higher walnut consumption improved cognitive test scores; delicious and they make you smarter? It’s a win (I can see that chocolate hob nob going down in your estimations).
Give. Me. Coffee.
If you still feel as though you’re lagging reach for the coffee, your mental functioning will improve, however, be mindful of the time. First thing in the morning, contrary to popular belief, is not the best idea. Most commonly, people’s peak production of cortisol happens between 8 and 9am, when you’re most likely gulping your large cappuccino, so your body is doing the hard work for you – it’s naturally caffeinating. Instead, reach for the espresso when your cortisol levels dip – normally between 9:30am and 11:30am, and 1:30pm and 5:00pm, the perfect pairing to your walnuts and berries! So here is how to be the best version of yourself at work, and all through food? Definitely a win.